Names have been changed to secure privacy to individual(s)*
I fell asleep early, it must have been about 9 or 10pm and it was a Sunday. I woke up because my phone was ringing and it was close to 4 in the morning. My friend, Niro, needed a place to crash. I hadn’t heard from him since Friday. I slumped out of bed, went to the darkened living room and pulled the large cushion off of the couch and put it on my small bedroom floor.
My room is small but a decent sized walk in closet if you will. It fits my single bed, a simple wooden dresser, a mirror on the wall, a tall wardrobe, and a desk that sits beneath the large window that faces the street lamp at night time. Two chairs are crammed in this tiny room as well. One against the wall and another half seated inside the desk.
This room looks even smaller with the couch cushion in the walkway area that separates my bed from my dresser, but at least my room feels like home.
I quickly made Niro’s bed on the floor, placing the sheet over the cushion. It floated in the air a bit and landed successfully. I pulled a matching pillow off of my bed and set my stuffed animal on the pillow. I still wasn’t sure why I bought the stuffed animal five weeks ago. I keep hearing stuffed animals are not for my age group, but it was cute and looked as lonely as I had. So, I did the only logical thing. I bought him off the shelf and took him home.
My room is temporary and does not belong to me. But until this Saturday, July 14th, it is all mine. Then I will be off to the United States and saying goodbye to Europe for a while.
I opened the window and peak out of the shutters. I hear Niro’s footsteps before I see his body in his striped shirt come closer on the stone sidewalk. I called down “hello” and I buzzed him in and left the front door to the apartment open so I could sit on my bed until he made it up the stairs.
Soon he was in the apartment, walking quietly so not to wake up my housemates. He came into my room and saw the bed made for him. He said something along the lines of “I’m not going to say this a lot, but I love you right now.”
Niro is an interesting guy. He is very serious about friendships and relationships that are romantic. He never says “I love you” even jokingly as friends, unless maybe you’ve known him for years and you eventually become his best friend. We just met almost three weeks ago but to me, we were already good friends. I am personally used to saying “I love you” to people who I think of as good friends/family. Even though I’d tell him those words when we’d say goodbye or in random moments, he would never return the words. Never did it bother me because I knew he was different like that.
It wasn’t until this night on Sunday that it made me cry. Not because he wouldn’t say I love you, because I hadn’t even said those words to him. But because of what he talked about with me.
We were laying in my room having a normal talk. We caught up about his weekend on the country side and his amazing time with friends and meeting new people. He told me I should have been there and would have loved it. I knew I probably would have, but at the same time I was happy with my laid back weekend, visiting Venezia and Roma. I had been to Roma before but never scampered outside of RomaTermini…I sat in the station waiting for my next train. Finally I had a chance and the time to visit these well known places. But, back to the story.
Niro said he found the girl of his dreams that weekend. He said he just knew she would be the one, one day.
It made me happy to hear.
Then at some point, the conversation changed and took an odd turn. He said he didn’t want me to take it the wrong way, but said I shouldn’t say “I love you” so much. Apparently, I say it too soon to people I meet.
I understood where he was coming from, but at the same time I felt misunderstood by far.
He said he was talking with his friends, one in particular who I thought I knew pretty well. We all had joked and laughed about things, we even stayed up until six in the morning wandering the streets of Firenze. We saw the sun come out and shed a gentle light on the buildings and old palaces. In that moment I remember feeling infinite. I thought how life is spontaneous, and in one night you can meet a bunch of random people and have the best time of your life with no limitations.
Well, after hearing Niro say that I should contain myself, I felt like my memories were being shifted. As if the way I remembered these moments, had suddenly meant something different. It was too much for me to handle.
I can’t explain what I want to say. You might be lost in my story. I’m even lost in my story. It didn’t happen too long ago, but it already feels like a dream that has liquified itself. I can’t make out anything clear. I just have abstract feelings and colors.
Last night as I walked back home from a Vegan restaurant, with my friend who is vegan– I was about to make my normal route home to my apartment when I realized I needed to think.
I chose a stone bench that sat facing near Santa Maria del Fiori, also known as the Duomo in Firenze. It’s a large building made of marble and some stone, colors include green and white…beautiful work. Google it!
The sky was a brilliant cobalt blue, the air was fresh and luke warm. A highlight of color lifted the blue shades around the large church building. At first I sat on the edge of the bench, talking quietly with myself. I had just passed a touring couple in front of the church on the ground. A woman lay on her back and her husband was on top of her. They kissed passionately and then got up took a picture of her and laughed. I had tried to take out my camera during their make out scene, but I was too slow. That moment of whitnessing their PDA, made me think of how love does “ballsy” things : ) Excuse this little detour story if you are offended by PDAs, I was in the mood where it was cute to see a couple who was married be so in love after time has passed.
I shoved this scene out of my mind as I spoke, trying to figure out what love was with words.
I couldn’t wrap my mind around Niro’s idea of how love had to be…it was as if he wanted it to be something that had to be well planned out, well thought about. It made no sense because just before he had said he just knew he was going to be with this girl who he had never met before, and yet he holds onto this strict feeling of waiting to say “I love you” even to friends.
I suppose I had changed a lot. (Side note…I will have to get a tattoo of a mosquito because I have met the toughest mosquito right now. –okay I lied. I’ve known him for a week. I’m calling him Magician. He bites me every where, all the time. He only shows himself at night time for supper. He flies fast, he disappears and reappears. I’ve never not been able to kill a mosquito. I applaud this little bastard.)
I grew up thinking people said “I love you” too much that it lost its meaning, I used to think that no one really understood it. But now I think I was backwards then.
When I was little I only said I loved one person until I was twelve years old. After that love became more of an open word but always with meaning. I understand how different languages and cultures change love. In Italian we have words that mean I LOVE YOU to only family, or to your romantic partner. In the US, we have the one word “Love” that goes to all.
As I grew up, and I still am, I find that life could end at any moment. We all know death is inevitable. So why is it wrong to go around saying “I love you”!? What’s wrong with telling a stranger you appreciate their existence?
I think the truth is that we are all in different chapters of our lives. One day we’ll all meet at the same point, but till then we have our own views on how to love and feel.
Back Ground: How Niro and I became ‘friends’
I was in the square of Santo Spirito with my friend Mini and some locals. I was introduced to Niro through the friends I had who were locals to the town. Right away I sat on the curb and we were very alive and jumpy. We acted as if we knew each other for years. He immediately said we could be good friends, even best friends. We walked with people to a club down the road. I invited him to come to Cortona with me the next day even though I had just met him. He said he’d call me the next day. He did, and there he was, getting off the bus at Cortona after the first night we met. We spent the weekend together in a sweet bed and breakfast, hiked around the town. We didn’t talk too much about anything deep. It was polite conversation. Every since we hang out every so often and have a good time.